the concert will finish at 10 p.m.
Not many composers are suited to the theme running through this orchestral series, namely the link between music and society, as well as Ludwig van Beethoven.
The composer, whose 250th birthday is celebrated this year, was keenly interested in public affairs and incorporated his personal thoughts about these into several of his works. For example, when he wrote Symphony No. 3 in E flat major he was excited about Napoleon Bonaparte’s ideas. However, when this politician declared himself Emperor, the outraged composer scratched out the dedication to Bonaparte on the manuscript, and the piece is today known as ‘Eroica’.
The Symphony is a politically inspired piece par excellence and its E flat Major key is, thanks to this composition, described as ‘a heroic key’.
Equally interesting is the history of the Egmont Overture. Beethoven wrote it as incidental music for Goethe’s tragedy of the same name about a hero from the Low Countries who fought for freedom. For its powerful impact, the Overture music became an unofficial anthem of the bloody Hungarian revolution in the 1950s.
Inset between the two Beethoven works will be the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 by Bohuslav Martinů, performed by the brilliant Finnish pianist, conductor, and composer Olli Mustonen.
Emmanuel Villaume — conductor
Emmanuel Villaume has been the principal conductor and music director of the PKF — Prague Philharmonia since the 2015-2016 season and is in his eighth year as musical director of Dallas Opera. In the 2020–2021 season he returns to the Metropolitan Opera in New York (Roméo et Juliette), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Samson and Delilah) and the Dallas Opera, where he is music director (Nozze di Figaro, Lohengrin, and a world premiere “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). Together with the soprano Diana Damrau he was awarded the prestigious ECHO Klassik award in the category Opera Album of the Year, for their recording of Meyerbeer’s arias in 2017. In December 2017 he conducted the much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera’s production of Puccini’s Tosca, broadcast as part of the MET: Live in HD to more than 2000 cinemas in 73 countries. He regularly works with prestigious opera houses around the world: the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London; Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Metropolitan Opera New York, Lyric Opera in Chicago and San Francisco Opera. He has led productions in Washington National Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Bavarian State Opera and Teatro La Fenice. Maestro Villaume has conducted leading world orchestras: Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Royal Philharmonic in London; Chicago, San Francisco and Boston Symphonic Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic and NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. He is a sought-after partner of leading opera stars: Anna Netrebko, Diana Damrau, Bryan Hymel and Angela Gheorghiu. Born in Strasbourg in 1964, Emmanuel Villaume studied music at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, followed by studies at École normale supérieure at the Sorbonne in Paris where he received degrees in literature, philosophy, and musicology. As an author of noted articles on musicology, Emmanuel Villaume was appointed Dramaturge of the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg at the age of 21. In the years 2001—2010 he was Music Director of Spoleto Festival. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from Indianapolis University.
Olli Mustonen — piano
Olli Mustonen, a native of Helsinki, started learning piano age five, as well as harpsichord and composition. During his extensive career he has collaborated with the world’s leading orchestral bodies (Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) and a number of prominent conductors (Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Esa-Pekka Salonen). His long-term music partner is the British cellist Steven Isserlis. As a soloist he has given concerts at the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, in Zankel Hall, New York, and in the Australian Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Among this season’s highlights are his collaboration with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic led by Jurij Těmirkanov, a South American tour and a number of recitals in Italy, Germany, Finland, Japan, and Singapore. As a composer, he presented in September of last year the world premiere of his composition for tenor, cello, and piano Taivaanvalot (Heavenly Lights); in February 2020 he introduced his new String Quintet commissioned for the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. In 2019 in Hanau he was awarded the Hindemith Prize (Hindemith-Preis der Stadt Hanau) for his exceptional work in music.